Killington Adds Bubble Lifts, Snow Bikes, Tunnels & Woodward?

It’s getting hard to keep up with everything that Killington has going on but this past week, we got a chance to try as VT SKI + RIDE joined other media for Ski Vermont’s Media Day and got to ski through new tunnels, slurp a Vermont Maple Milk Shake (think White Russian, but way better and made with Vermont’s Silo Vodka) at the Ledgewood Yurt, take the six-pack bubble chair, ride snow bikes and glimpse what may be a sign of the future: the Danny Davis Peace Park. Which, interestingly enough, was renamed the Woodward Peace Park just before it opened on Friday, Feb. 8.

The snow bike team, ready for action.

Killington went big this season with more than $25 million in upgrades and if you’ve been recently, you’ll notice the changes. For starters, there’s a new six-person super-cushy bubble chair where the old Snowdown Quad used to be. With a cover that comes down to protect against the elements, the new six-pack will be a faster ride to the top (1,100 feet—“close to the height of New York’s Empire State Building,” notes Director of Mountain Operations, Jeff Temple). Killington’s old Snowdon Quad has been moved to South Ridge, making that area far more accessible for repeat runs (without having to head back to the base). Also new and part of the largest infrastructure investment in 25 years, Killington plowed massive ski-through tunnels to divert cross-mountain traffic under some of its most popular runs.

Three massive tunnels have made what were once hairy intersections into fun features at Killington.

The Lower Chute and Skyeburst Tunnels are cavernous and fun to ski through. “These will definitely help with traffic flow,” says Killington CEO Mike Solimano. Other improvements that you might not see,  but will feel: close to 8 miles (44,000 feet) of new snowmaking pipe.

Perhaps the biggest bit of news was the Woodward Peace Park, designed by Danny Davis. More than your average snowboard and freeride park, it has cutting edge terrain designed to help skiers and riders progress under their own training to using seriously big features. The Woodward design features snow structures and flow sequences that transcend your standard slopestyle and halfpipe terrain. The idea is to create room to breathe so that park skiers and riders of all ability levels—from beginners to Olympic athletes and big air pros—can find stimulating lines that let them progress at their own rate.

Davis, a Burton rider, Grand Prix winner, X Games Gold Medalist, Dew Tour Champion and U.S. Olympic snowboard athlete, created the Peace Park with the idea that it would bring skiers and riders of all ages and skill level together to one place on the mountain. When the park was first envisioned, it was rolled out as a secret “pros only event” in 2011 to experiment with new types of terrain and transition sequences. Woodward’s focus on self-directed learning and skill-building in the outdoors has made the project more accessible to the average human. The park is expected to open in mid-February and could open as early as this week.

On top of that, Davis has announced a unique contest: the Woodward Peace Park Championships. To qualify, participants enter into a user-generated #MyPeaceParkEdit video contest. Any rider or skier can submit up to a 1-minute edit of him or herself riding one of the Woodward Peace Parks using the #MyPeaceParkEdit hashtag. The winner will be announced in early April and will receive an expense-paid trip to Woodward Peace Park Championships at Boreal May 1-5th.  Further details are  at http://www.campwoodward.com/mypeaceparkedit.

Killington’s parent company, POWDR Corps, already owns the popular Woodward parks and training camps — sort of the Disneyland of action sports — and Killington CEO Mike Solimano has had bringing a full Woodward facility to Killington on his wish list.

While Rob Megnin, the Director of Marketing and Communications could not confirm or deny that Killington may put in a Woodward facility he did let slip that they are in the “permitting process of something big.”

Woodward’s mountain facility at Colorado’s Copper Mountain features The Barn, which houses a 19,400ft² indoor training facility with skateparks, Olympic-grade trampolines, foam pit jumps, indoor ski and snowboard training and more.

The brand also has locations in Pennsylvania, Lake Tahoe, Mexico’s Riviera Maya and Park City, as well as two hours outside of Los Angeles. Bringing one to Killington, would be a boost for all of Vermont’s action sports athletes, especially those at the Killington Mountain School.

 

 

Lisa Lynn

Editor of VT SKI + RIDE and Vermont Sports. Skier. Sometime snowboarder. Future teleskier. Mountain creature.